Friday, May 4, 2012

FNL- The Let's Dance Edition

Holy confusion Blogger- what happened to my dashboard? Why won't you function properly on my laptop? Since I'm now attempting this from my iPad, I don't have the Friday Night Leftovers image, but I'll give it a go. Where the hell did the bullets function go?

  • Fudge had a birthday party to attend last night and the music was fantastic! Makes me miss the days of a wedding every weekend and some good dancing. Cupid Shuffle anyone?
  • Speaking of dancing, we had a folk dance night at Fudge's school this week, which was a great deal of fun and laughter. The next day Fudge told me he was a little disappointed: "I thought it was going to be a real dance, in the dark, with a disco ball and crazy lights, so I could show off my moves." Then he showed his moves- looked like a cross between the Elaine on Seinfeld and some odd break dancing. No lack of confidence there.
  •  I've kissed 10 pounds goodbye! The only thing I am craving? Pizza. Who would have thought?
  • I am exactly 90 days away from being on more than just a few days of island time. Ahhhh! Speaking of island time, my parents are in Hawaii and cruising for three weeks. Fudge misses Nonna & Poppy, but it's nice to recognize what a bond they have. He's counting the days until we meet them at the airport.
  • Summer camp craziness is almost settled...I'd rather run the NFL draft- that's got to be easier than the camp planning shuffle.
  • Danifred, I owe you my Disney planning spreadsheet. PM (via FB) your email and I'll send you the Excel file. Ok, off to volunteer this afternoon and more soccer this weekend. Make it a good one!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers- Case of the Hootypuckers Edition

No doubt, we've had better weeks. Here's to the end of the work and school week...

  • Champ, Fudge's parakeet, died. Equally devastated are Fudge, me, and Buddy, our other 'keet. We dug a grave last evening in a beautifully sunny spot in the yard, buried poor Champ, and Fudge painted a tombstone. Buddy has not chirped or blessed us with his song since Champ passed :(

  • Any parents of sleepwalkers out there? Fudge's latest the other night was a 3am wander into the bathroom and pee in the trash can. At least it wasn't the clothes bin.

  • I awoke at 2am- as in WIDE AWAKE. On the upside, I now have a cleaned out pantry and the birds/squirrels/rabbits/raccoons/'possums have some new snacks...even tried homemade suet (at 4am) and got a jump on preparing weekend meals. It's one of the only times this year you can call me Martha. Oldest thing in the back of the rounder cabinet- any guesses? Unopened seaweed sheets from 2005!

  • Weekend plans include celebrating my brother's birthday this evening (I can almost taste that margarita), soccer, and hopefully some sunshine and free time to enjoy it. Oh and some sleep, that would be nice. The motto around here is "you can sleep when you're dead."

  • Just realized I have a stack of overdue library items...dear YCPL- I think your email alert system needs some bugs worked out. I don't need to know the stuff due in two weeks, I need to know what's due now.

  • Some big wins at work this week- now to sustain them.

  • Not much of a TV watcher and while I lose enthusiasm for Revenge, I am hooked on Missing. Last week's episode reminded me all over again why I just love the city of Prague! Scandal is intriguing as well.

  • I need to wrap up the summer camp registration's intense here...reminds me of bidding on a house. In the interim, I lost my mind and said yes to a fantastic camp I attended as a kid...which means commuting 90 miles EACH way for a week, on top of the hefty camp fee. I must really love Fudge.

  • Speaking of houses, remind me why I left my wonderful townhome 10 years ago? I hate keeping up with this @#^%&*( yard!

Want to share in the FNL love? Visit our wonderful host and super-mom to three, Danifred.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers- The Dazed Edition

Actually, the title should probably be the "dazed and confused" edition...

  • Spring break was just what we needed- fresh air, sunshine, adventure, and back to nature. Ok, maybe a little too much nature for this city girl, but nature nonetheless. It ranged from having a camel in my car, a moose trying to kiss me, a big snake right near our feet in the river, and a precariously teetering (but fun) swinging bridge.

  • Today is my Dad's 60th, so I had his yard "flocked" with flamingos, skel-a-mingos, and tombstones. It was my Mama, however, who surprised me with the text requested for the yard sign: "Shut the flock up- Bob's 60!"

  • Soccer season is in full swing, and as I posted on Facebook the other night, "It must be parent asshat night at youth soccer." You should have heard the parents SCREAMING at their kids. I'm not talking about encouraging shouting, but full out rage screaming- "[Child's Name] YOU DON'T LET ANYONE PAST YOU WITH THAT BALL, DO YOU HEAR ME?" Lady, the whole effin' sports complex can hear you! Were we in an episode of What Would You Do, or maybe The Twilight Zone? And it went like that for the whole game; I had to stifle myself with the parents/grandparents behind me. All I could think was how sad for that kid and would these people please take their obnoxious (Long Island?) accents back to where they came from. Unfortunately, about half of the parents from that team behaved in the same manner. These are a bunch of 6 and 7 year olds, not Manchester United.

  • I pulled the muscles in my lower back, so while I am getting relief, I feel like Molly Ringwald's older sister in 16 Candles. Surely you remember the one, who could hardly function thanks to some good drugs? Oops, is that drool on the keyboard?

Want to join the FNL fun? Stop by and see our lovely and talented host, Danifred, along with allof the other ladies from FNL.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • I'm working like a mad woman today so I can take off with Fudge until April 10th. Regardless of public opinion of my employer, my own opinion, or the financial services industry as a whole, my leave time and flexibility is top-notch, which I greatly appreciate. Too many parents have to choose between "employee" or "parent" during school breaks and I am thankful that I don't have to make that choice. If only we could get the majority of employers in this country to value the parent-child connection. Or the having-a-life connection, regardless of parental status. Hmph!

  • This amendment 1 in NC is so bass-ackwards. I'd say thank goodness I kissed NC goodbye years ago, but I'm still in the South and in a pretty bass-ackwards state myself.

  • Lately, I'm having crazy vivid dreams- what's that about? Last night, I was back in Germany, speaking French. ???

  • Need a good book for the weekend/next week- suggestions?

  • Why don't Christians celebrate Passover? Jesus observed it- what's the deal? The church I grew up in could never satisfactorily answer the question. Any takers?

Want to join the FNL? Be sure to visit Danifred to play along.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fudge Makes Dinner

Fudge decided to serve me dinner the other night...what a pleasant surprise that I had fish, milk, yogurt, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies! Maybe all of those Saturday mornings at the farmer's market, in search of fresh fruits, veggies, and seafood, are paying off?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Are You Doing Right?

Social media can be a fabulous tool for communication and runs the realm of being a collaboration tool and a time suck, inspiring and damaging, thought-provoking and ignorant...all at the same web with many outcomes. As I consider my own use of social media, I find the newsworthy, the celebratory, the information sharing, and the quick connection to those I care about to be the most gratifying. What will not get me to bite is the "vague-booking" status updates, not-so-vague-give-me-constant-and-unwarranted-attention updates and the look-at-my-perfect-life updates (what insecurities are you hiding, not so well I might add?). I'm sure I'm guilty of the latter too; a girl's got to be able to celebrate with friends and family when something is going well. I do celebrate the good times, but I'm also here to be real about what is not going as planned (on-fire tread mills, mis-steps in my new role, Fudge's stunts and ER visits)'s life right? And to quote Dr. Seuss (yes, I've been part of Read Across America too):

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains.”Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Lately, I find it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to live up to "supermom" status, or even "superstar at work" status. Most of you who just read that sentence had THAT mom come to mind- perfect kids, perfect house, perfect figure, perfect spouse, perfect income...perfect, perfect, perfect. The first question I ask is why are we comparing? I'm here to tell you that if I compare, it's a lost battle from the start. My house right now- total mess and chaos (which drives me nuts). If you came to the front door today, we'd be standing on the porch to converse, with the front door firmly shut (how ungracious, I know). Toys are everywhere, laundry is piling up, the floors need to be mopped, toilets scrubbed, showers get the picture. I still haven't mailed thank you notes from Fudge's party last month, or from the PTA fundraiser. My child downed a piece of pizza and red velvet cake for dinner on the run last night- not our typical fare, but that was his veggies, no fruit, no "eating the rainbow." I'd have to ask Fudge when he last washed his hair, Dax needs a good brushing, Salem needs to get back for a check-in with the vet, taxes are looming, summer camp rosters are filling, piano didn't get practiced thoroughly and I feel behind most days. I'm in a new role at work, drinking from a fire hose, and the issues can seem worse when compounded.

For this day, despite the dirty floors and sticky doornobs, the crazy Excel formulas and constant meetings, I am giving myself permission to focus (actually requiring myself to focus on small wins) on what I am doing well...what I am thankful for...sometimes we just need a reminder:

  • My team and I pulled off a very successful quarterly meeting for 800+ participants worldwide and with an internationally recognized speaker. WHEW!

  • I made it to the market, so we've got fresh, healthy choices stocking the fridge and freezer.

  • The laundry mountain is slowly, but surely, eroding.

  • I'm learning new skills in the workplace and establishing valuable and meaningful connections.

  • My child is usually easy going and happy, healthy, well-adjusted and a blossoming voracious reader...I could learn from him- not to sweat the small stuff.

  • I can laugh at myself, even when I am the unintended entertainment...nothing like singing Happy Birthday while unintentionally back-flipping over a couch and taking the whole damn thing with you. Classicly me! And we wonder why Fudge is so accident prone?

  • And finally, drumroll please, I've been consistent with my work-outs and I'm down four pounds this week. That was a hard-won victory!
What are you doing well in the midst of demands, stress, and/or chaos? What do you need to give yourself a pat on the back for, despite the mountain in front of you?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers- Get Outta That Funk Edition

It's been a seriously funky week that I am looking forward to putting behind me. Drumroll please, the not so exciting edition of Friday Night Leftovers rolling around in my mind:

  • Anyone else out there politically exhausted? I've spent the last 15+ years identifying as "conservative" and with the slim Republican options these days, I am over it. Seriously, it is causing me to re-think so many things that my head spins. There, I said it- I'm having a political identity crisis...

  • ...which brings me to the news- same drivel, different day. I've taken to getting any world news from the BBC since we cannot seem to cover world events in this country. I also benefit from one of my friends regularly posting (on FB) thought-provoking, debate and essay-ensuing news links. Thanks for keeping the intellectual dialogue alive RK! And thanks to my childhood buddy at River Mud for keeping it real on the environmental front. From the water crisis in India, to the Chesapeake Bay and poaching in MD, he's got you covered.

  • Time to feel human again- cut and color at my favorite salon this afternoon. For locals, you know this means laughing hysterically with Kelley and her non-stop entertainment.

  • Fudge's loft and bottom bunk are finally delivered and set up (that only took 6 weeks : /). Now taking bets on the next ER visit. What's that you say? "Shhhh, don't jinx him!" No chance- Fudge is Fudge. Although, Mitchell, he does take way too keen of an interest in the story of you jumping for the ceiling fan from the top bunk and breaking your arm.

  • I've created a monster- Fudge has visited 17 states, 27 major cities, and 1 foreign country before he turned 7, so I guess it should not surprise me that he's requested returning to Aruba this summer. When I told him no to the happy island this summer, he came back with his next offer: "Oh, ok- I guess you can book Brazil." Where does he get this stuff? Why Brazil? Because one of the little friends he made in Aruba was from Brazil. The fantastic part was watching these kids play and neither shared a common language.

  • We are not going to Brazil, but I did agree to the boy's request for a sunny, warm island. I welcome (read: crave) more international travel as Fudge grows/matures. And how old do they have to be to dive? ;)

  • Spring Break is coming and we're going to create our own "Weird Virginia" tour...Foamhenge, Zebras in the car, George Washington's graffiti. Also planning a day trip to climb Jockey's Ridge if any local friends are interested, but know Fudge will deny it is Jockey's Ridge and inform you he is climbing the Great Pyramids at Giza- just go with it.

Ok, enough randomness. Send some good juju my way to eliminate this feeling of funk...and if you are playing along with FNL, visit Danifred for all of the latest.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Running is ON FIRE!

I'm a firm believer that you've got to be able to laugh at yourself, and I certainly had one of those moments this morning. Over the years I've gone from fit to flab and while it has been frustrating as hell, I'm dragging my body along on this "get fit" quest of mine...which is a whole other post, so let's just go with the short version this morning.

Get up early, decide to go for a run/walk...decide to use the treadmill at my parents so I can get the exact distance, time, etc. So, I'm jamming along to We Found Love and I think I'm smelling smoke...but I don't see any smoke...and I keep going. My parents are building a sunroom off the back porch, saws are whizzing, cement is being mixed, etc. and I keep going, thinking the smell must be from all of the work, since I am running right near an open window.

Nope. 23 minutes into my run, right in the middle of the Glee mash up of Start Me Up/Living on a Prayer, the treadmill DEAD stops, I go flying forward, bounce off the front panel, pitch backward and bounced off the treadmill and onto the floor, where I was laughing hysterically. Nicely played. No appliances are safe around me these days.

Even better was the text I received from my brother a short while later- "Congrats, Tank!" Ah, brotherly love. And now I hear firetrucks in the neighborhood, so let's hope they're not headed to my parents' place.

Are you there God? It's me, Chubby.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thankful for the Basics

There's nothing quite like being shocked back into reality by coming home from a fantastic four days away to a blown Jeep engine, a washing machine that died with a full load in it, and furniture that was not delivered...and now my Keurig is flashing that it needs to be de-scaled (really?). We all have crap we deal with daily, right? So in the spirit of my various travels and trying to see the positive (somewhat difficult in the midst of annoyances)..I am thankful...

- For the ability and resources to purchase a new washer (even if it is on backorder) and that I'm not washing my clothes against a rock in a creek...I repeat this mantra each time I must make a trip to go do laundry, tonight included, after Fudge spilled milk all over the tablecloth. : /

-For my wonderful, eco-friendly Honda Pilot...may Darth Vader have many, many years and joyous miles of adventures ahead. So many do not have shoes, let alone a vehicle, so we'll get past a blown engine. And while I am thinking of it, if you are spring cleaning, please consider taking your shoes to a drop off site for Soles for Souls.

-For a warm bed to tuck Fudge into at night, while so many go without.

-For excellent medical care, even if I think I pay way too much for it. Fudge has ear surgery #3 on the horizon and I'm thankful he is in such caring and capable hands, while many have no access to care.

-For the lovely emails I received from friends after my last post...which surprised me since there were no comments, but lots of love sent my way nonetheless.

It's been an exhausting day, and much to do before I call it a night. Wherever you are, wishing you gratitude, especially for the basics we take for granted.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

The blog has (obviously) fallen by the wayside...I think with writing so much corporate mumbo-jumbo daily, the passion to write personally wanes, even though I enjoy it immensely. As one of my friends would say, "le sigh."

I'm back from a girls' weekend at the beach- just what I needed. You know it's bad when you don't mind sitting in bumper-to-bumper gridlock on the outer loop, because it affords you some peace and quiet...or reminds you of an old commute into the city. Either way, sick, right? This from the woman who never imagined a life in the 'burbs, driving a swagger wagon (ok, Honda Pilot because there was no way in hell that I was buying a minivan), and trying not to go insane on the soccer sidelines. Don't misunderstand, I love being a mom- love it, and at the same time, it raises some tough questions...what happens to identity when the title of mom is hitched to it? How do you successfully balance motherhood, career, and that which you wish to passionately pursue? There, sitting in traffic, I realized I don't even get to use the bathroom by myself ("Mom, are you in there?")...what identity is/was left after mom, employee, volunteer, household manager, cook, and so on? Well, if you've got to ask that question, the answer is not much. I started to wonder "where did I go?" Something's got to give.

Traffic passed and the outer loop gave way to a country road, fallow cotton fields, turf farms, vineyards, empty farm stands and finally a bridge onto the island. As I drove along, I felt the stress melt far, far away. To say I was thrilled to arrive on Thursday evening would be an understatement; it's not due to any one thing- but the sum of all of the little things..."the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Four days to be Jen, just Jen...nothing more and nothing less. How refreshing. Ok, rare, but refreshing all the same...and isn't the rarity of that just pathetic?

Time to linger over a glass of wine and great conversation...real, authentic conversation. Time to relax (what's that?), time to pamper myself (a massage therapist came out to the beach house for the day), time to read, time to think, time to just be. As I was sitting on the deserted beach Friday afternoon, listening to the waves crashing, the sun shining down on me, I realized that I could not remember the last time I was alone...just one as far as I could see. How does one get to that point, where time to sit, alone, and breath the fresh salty air, feel your hair being whipped by the balmy breeze, and enjoying the warmth of sunshine on your face with uninterrupted thoughts is a rare occurrence?

These weekends happen twice a year, but obviously, I must make way for me more than two long weekends a year. No wonder why it feels like I could go bat shit crazy some days. When the internal dialogue sounds something like- "Hi Jen, remember yourself? You know, your passions, ideas, independence, sense of adventure, goals and laughter? No???"- it's time to take action.

Of course, the weekend was fantastic. And just like Vegas, what happens at girls' weekend stays at girls' weekend...or is it like Fight Club and the first rule? And really, I hate the title "girls'" weekend (we're far from being a bunch of 10 year olds) but "ladies'" weekend sounds too prim and proper and "womens'" weekend too formal. Whatever you want to call it, it was a little slice of heaven for a few days with a fantastic group of smart, authentic, funny, accomplished women.

One conversation was so good to have, but at the same time, sticks with me, heavily. A group of us from my grad school program were recently surveyed on the value of our experiences, preparedness, academic rigor, etc., and one of my friends on the weekend adventure was also a grad school classmate of mine. We compared notes on the survey, our experiences, and how far we've developed since out grad school days and our first placements outside of grad school. You know, moving from an arrogant, headstrong, know-it-all 23 year old and developing into a better version of self. While we enjoyed a laugh over "if we knew then what we know now," I also mourn the missed opportunities- things I would have done differently, personal relationships I would have cultivated more, how I would have opened my eyes and heart wider, my ears more compassionately, and my mouth less. What does one do with that? Such a simple conversation that can stir up both good memories and regrets...not sure how to reconcile that, but it's not something I can simply let go. We'll see...I'm a processor, so I need to time to mull on it and work through it. Again, "le sigh."

There you have it- how I get by with a little help with my friends. Oh- the photo...well, I usually don't care for any photos of myself, but since this was one from the weekend (and super grainy from the iPhone), it seemed appropriate.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers

  • How are we really into February already? The first six weeks of the year have been a blur and I need to get on the ball since Fudge has a birthday that is quickly approaching.

  • I went to my first formal crochet class last night, at the local fine arts center. It was an advanced class, but I was relieved to see I was keeping up.

  • The student in me lives on...last night's class reminded me that I could be in school full time and just love it...but I don't suppose that would pay the mortgage. :)

  • Fudge's class is listening to a teacher read Double Fudge by Judy Blume. Now he knows why I call him Fudge. We checked out Super Fudge and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great from the library and I am so enjoying reading these "classics" with him.

  • Snow, dinner out, and a dueling piano bar are on the weekend plans- bring it on!

Visit Danifred to join in the FNL fun!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Barrett's Esophagus- We Like GOOD News

The Hubs recently went in for Barrett's surgery #8...or is it #9? Really, we've both lost count. We actually had a really smooth day at the hospital- no waiting like usual and the nurse I think is fantastic was there watching out for us. Even traffic was good! It's like everything was smiling down us until the Hubs came out of surgery and we learned two unexpected growths were found and removed for pathology.

Well, the fantastic news came today- NED (no evidence of disease/cancer). That's always great news! We are so thankful. Additionally, the Hubs went from a diagnosis of high dysplasia down to no dysplasia (also a really good thing). The Barrett's is still present and there's still the diagnosis of carcinoma in situ, but this is some of the best Barrett's news we've heard to date. Thank you to all of you for your prayers and support.

The next step is the Hubs gets to let 5 whole months pass until his next surgery! That may not sound too exciting, but when you are on a 6-8 week rotation, 5 months is golden.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Homemade Febreze

I won't use Febreze- I can't stand a heavy perfume and I don't like the thought of all of those nasty chemicals, so I've got a natural alternative. If you've not already read of my love of Vaska's Herbasoft, check the product out here.

To make the homemade fabric refreshener, a.k.a. "Febreze," I used the following with good results.

  • 24 ounce spray bottle

  • 1/8 cup fabric softener (pick your favorite or go natural with one like Vaska)

  • 2 Tbsp. baking soda

  • Hot water

Mix fabric softener and baking soda in the bottle, fill to within an inch of the top with hot water. Shake well before using. Easy peasy, no more gross dog smell on my couch!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Homemade Fabric Softener

I've never been accused of being frugal, but I think the Hubs is getting me there. I like having more money in my pocket than going out the door on things I don't have to purchase. We're pretty much chemical free around the home, which is why I like the Vaska natural fabric softener, but IT IS $10 A BOTTLE. I started using the old trick of white vinegar, buying it in large, generic jugs for about $3.

I fill the dispenser almost to the top with white vinegar and add a tablespoon of the Vaska Herbasoft. However, I've had great results with the vinegar and a few drops of essential oil (lavender), instead of the Vaska. Either way, I'm very pleased with the results and thrilled I am not spinning chemicals and liquid animal fat through my washed clothes.

We also use soap nuts, but I'll save that explanation for another time :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Little Changes Make a Big Difference

No, that's not my bed.

When you have so many projects on the list, and a money tree is not growing in the back yard, it can be tough to determine where to start. Where will you see the benefit of your efforts? We are saving most of our bedroom projects until the downstairs ones are completed, because really, who's coming over and spending time in our bedrooms? No one. However, a girl wants what she wants and this girl wanted a metal bed.

We have a king size mattress but we had yet to agree on a headboard and footboard that would compliment the rest of the matching bedroom furniture (we moved up from a queen that was part of a set). I didn't want to look for a matching king set, but rather something that was different but would still coordinate.

Ah-ha, how about a metal bed? Wrought iron maybe? I love a timeless look, and it was a great idea in theory, which fell apart when we started pricing these lovely beds. Since we were not spending thousands of dollars on a head and foot board, we gave Craigslist a try...and got lucky. Got the head and foot board you see above for $60, and lived to tell about it. Much like our last Craigslist experience, we were in luck. I really should upload a photo of our bed all set up, but frankly, I'm too lazy to go make the bed, get the photos, download, etc. right now. So you get the ugly bedding above, but the frame really is lovely. The bonus for us was while we were furniture shopping for Fudge's room, we came across the exact same head and foot board for...wait for it...over $800. WIN!

Small investment, big difference in giving us a lovely looking master bedroom.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kids Bedroom Organization

Day 5...maximizing on a small space! We love our neighborhood but sometimes we have the wish-we-would-have-kept-our-townhouse blues. It's not that we really want to live there now- our house and neighborhood are perfect for Fudge, but we miss having a more modern, open and airy floorplan. Our 32 year old home is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and full of love and laughter, in an outstanding community. However, that cute little room with the dormer window that made a perfect nursery and toddler room is too small to be a bedroom for Fudge. So, we ditched the guest room about 3 years ago and moved him to the larger room. Our master bedroom and the bonus room are both large, but the other two bedrooms are small. Fudge's current room is about 10x10, but I'm not ready to let him move up to the 20x20 bonus room. He has a full-size bed crammed in his room, nursery dresser, nightstand, desk, and 9-cube's a tight squeeze . and he needs to upgrade to more than a small, 3-drawer dresser. Ever since the kid turned 5, he's been begging for bunkbeds. Now, for those of you who know Fudge, this request conjurs images of a kid jumping from the top bunk to see how far he can fly, or if he could spin from a ceiling fan- you get the picture.

The request hasn't let up and has only worsened since he's turning 7 this month. Here's the deal- the Hubs is rightfully afraid Fudge is going to fall or fly from the top bunk and break something while I dread moving back to a twin bed...only to have him ask for larger furniture as he grows. We realized we have a very specific need- a mid-height, full size matress loft bed with coordinating furniture that will grow with Fudge and will fit this small space. I tell you what, I should have just waved a magic wand with that impossible request, but lo and behold, there is a company that can deliver on this request! You can nest the furniture underneath, or pull it out and make room for a fort underneath the bed- score! I like that as your child grows, you can even convert this to a high loft. Who knows, the kiddo could take this to college someday. I wish the price tag wasn't so steep, but when you break it down (the geek in me calls this cost-per-use ratio) it's a nominal spend if averaged annually.

After church tomorrow we're driving an hour to the one furniture dealer in our end of the state that carries this line to check it out, but don't tell's our little surprise. Oh, the brand is Maxtrix.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent- Dry

Day 4...never say never! I swore I'd NEVER, EVER make my own laundry detergent. I've heard of people cooking up their own and it sounded like too much damn work. I'm trying to catch up on mountains of laundry around here and I was going through the expensive stuff in no time. Enter a recipe for homemade:

- 1 box of Borax (4 pounds, 12 ounces)

- 1 box BAKING soda (4 pounds)

- 1 box of WASHING soda (3 pounds, 7 ounces)

- 3 bars of Fels-Naptha soap

- Oxy-type cleaner (about 3 to 3.5 pounds)

I used our kitchen trash can to mix all of the dry ingredients, then grated (or you can food process) the bars of soap and stirred those into the mix. The Hubs and I joked that Fudge, who helped me stir this up, would take this story to school and it would sound like we're running a meth lab. So for all of my teacher friends, yes, hard to believe but we really did make laundry detergent. Store in an air-tight container and you've got detergent to last you for months, for under $15...pennies per load!

I'm told you can use 1 TBSP per load, but I use 2 TBSP. This is also fine for HE machines- just don't put it in the dispenser- place it in the drum once you load the clothes. Let me know if you give it a try!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Love You Because...Frame

Day can do this one in a matter of minutes! I found this frame on clearance for $3- combine it with a piece of scrapbooking paper you like, letters/embellishments, and a Vis-A-Vis marker and you are all set to make something just your style.

This frame sits on our kitchen counter and serves as a quick way for the Hubs and I remind each other how thankful we are for the little things. This took less than 15 minutes to make! I used a Vis-A-Vis marker to write on the glass (shows better than dry erase) and it's easily wiped clean with a wet paper towel. This could also be a great, low-cost idea for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Weekly Schedule Frame

Day 2...see, I can do this. The poor hubs, we are always on the run and I think he was having a hard time remembering Fudge's schedule, appointments, meetings, etc. Ta-da- the weekly schedule! I placed it near the front door so it's a visual reminder of what our week looks like or what's on tap for the day. This was a cheap and easy project!

The frame was purchased for $10 at Wal-Mart (blech) and the Vis-A-Vis pens were found in their office supply department. The paper, letters, and stickers used were from my scrapbooking supplies.

- Pick a frame set (brown or black)- yes, they come attached like that.

- Pick your papers.

- Pick your embellishments.

- Pop open the frames, cut to fit, insert, replace frame backs, and you are DONE!

- Go hang it on your wall and marvel at your masterpiece.

The hardest part? Selecting paper, letters, and embellishments you like. Mine does not match our decor, but it's whimsical, has bright colors, and I have a few owl stickers in there, so it's staying. If anything, it brightens the hallway.

The Vis-A-Vis markers are wet erase and wipe clean with a little water on a paper towel. I love that it is bolder than dry erase markers.O k, your turn...go get your week organized, and link back if you give this a try!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Granite Cleaner

Ready? Let's do this! Since this is officially day one, I offer one of my old standbys- homemade granite cleaner. Yes, that is my counter sparkling above!

I'm all about saving some $ and getting our kitchen granite clean, disinfected, and streak-free. Since it's black, it really shows any streaks. It reminds me of when you'd spill liquid on your lab table in biology class and as much as you'd wipe and wipe, it just wasn't coming up, leaving streaks everywhere. The Method granite cleaner is $6 for a little bottle which is gone in about 2 weeks. I decided to experiment and here's a recipe I put together. I checked online and the alcohol is safe on granite, plus it disinfects.

- 1/2 c. rubbing alcohol
- 5-6 drops dish detergent
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/2 c. white vinegar
- A couple of drops of essential oil of your choice

Mix it up in a spray bottle and for pennies you have a great granite or countertop cleaner. I've also been using it as I clean out the fridge. It does have an alcohol smell to it, but it works great, so I can't complain.

Fabulous February Home Challenge

After a quiet couple of months on the blog front, fair warning that I am back...for all 10 of my readers ;) Beyond the constant reason of "we're so busy," the holidays were insane (in a good way) and January kept us in a spin too. I'll admit it- the Christmas tree is still standing proudly in the living room and the Christmas cards were never mailed. Don't judge! This is a first for us too, but I have promised the tree will be down before the Super Bowl (Go Giants!) and the cards, well, who knows? At any rate, welcome February, the mulligan of 2012!

This is the time of year I go into post-holiday, we've GOT to get organized mode (and birthday planning for Fudge). And since one of my goals for 2012 is to have all holiday prep done by Thanksgiving (yes, I know, I'm laughing too), so we can peacefully enjoy the Advent season, I have extra motivation to get on the ball, the sooner the better.

Which brings me to my blog for February. To force myself out of the blogging slump, I'll post a daily project we tackle to get better organized and more streamlined around our chaotic (ok, messy), busy home. The hubs and I work full-time, we parent-full time, and frankly, it doesn't leave much time to worry about the house, so whatever I happen to post will be "do-able"- or will at least spark some ideas.